ITV and Prime Video’s Vanity Fair series is based on the William Makepeace Thackeray’s 1847 novel of the same name. It is highly popular among young women because of its storyline which is primarily focused on “the antihero” Becky Sharp, played by Olivia Cooke, best known for her role in Ready Player One directed by Steven Spielberg. Becky is smart, shrewd, calculating and pretty and uses her charm to seduce the men of English high society, on her way up the social ladder. Vanity Fair premiered on September 2, 2018, on ITV.
As per the Gwyneth Hughes, the writer of the series, she fell in love with the book the first time she read it and hoped to be able to translate a story like that on-screen someday. That the story is unusually modern and transcends generations is what attracted her to be part of the series. Gwyneth said: “It seems so modern to me. Everyone in Vanity Fair marries the wrong person. Everyone thinks the wrong things are important. Everyone still does! And the story of a group of very young people, living in a world they did not create and don’t much like – how modern is that?”
Vanity Fair Plot: What is it about?
Vanity Fair is a classical drama series recounted in seven parts which tell the story of Becky Sharp who is a woman seeking to climb the ladder of the English Society and break out of poverty during and post-Napoleonic Era. She is beautiful and holds no moral restrictions on her actions to chase or even seduce a gentleman with enormous wealth; sometimes even married men, in order to reach her aim of establishing herself as one of the elites of English society.
The series also follows Amelia, a decent-looking girl, often ignored by men and women but appreciated by those who come to know her. She believes in the concept of pride, honour and starts out as an epitome of the protagonist woman of that era. She is rich and kind-natured. One could easily predict her to be the hero of the story at the initial stage of the story, but her incapability to react to her husband’s infidelity (his affair with Becky) where she chooses rather to stay devoted to him than confront him shows her lack to strength to fight the stressful situation. She ends up losing everything at the end of the series which makes the narrator acknowledge her as “not the protagonist” of the story. The series also covers the story of their accompanying families and friends.
The 1848 novel barely has any happy endings, the closest it comes to a happy ending is with Dobbin realizing that Amelia wasn’t worth the effort. However, the series has its own twists and doesn’t exactly follow the ending of the novel.
The series ends with Becky left with a constant source of money resulting from the death of her husband. Becky and Amelia meet each other, and their relationship undergoes a change such that the two might start an unlikely friendship.
In the final scene, Becky comes out of the crowd cheering and looking very happy which is different from the actual novel. It would have been interesting to find out how Becky and Amelia’s relation shaped up. There is much to witness in Sharp’s journey, her rekindled bond with her best friend Amelia and her equation with Dobbin. If season 2 were on the cards, Becky Sharp, Amelia Sedley, and Dobbin would definitely have driven the storyline. It could take any direction but would require a full deviation from the script of season 1.
However, Gwyneth Hughes, the writer of the series said viewers were free to imagine their own version for the show’s end. According to her, it took maximum effort and major brainstorming for her to come up with her own version of the ending. She said, “I like to imagine what Becky and co did next, but I hope everyone else feels free to imagine that for themselves too, rather than me making all the decisions.”
Vanity Fair Cast: Who’s in it?
At the centre of the series is Olivia Cooke playing Becky Sharp, an intelligent lady with big ambitions. Cooke is recognizable from her roles in Ready Player One and Bates Motel. Next, we have Claudia Jessie as Amelia Sedley, the second central character of the series. Martin Clunes as Sir Pitt Crawley, Michael Palin as the narrator and fictional version of William Makepeace Thackeray, the writer of the novel, Johnny Flynn as Captain William Dobbin, and Tom Bateman as Rawdon Crawley, form the rest of the cast. We also have a few other notable characters such as Claire Skinner as Louisa Sedley, Suranne Jones as Miss Pinkerton, Simon Russell Beale as John Sedley, and Robert Pugh as John Osborne appearing on the series.
Vanity Fair Season 2 Release Date: Cancelled or Renewed?
Vanity Fair premiered on September 2, 2018, and concluded its 7-episode run on October 7, 2018. Despite proving to be a promising series with a potential to continue for one other season at least, it appears Vanity Fair will not return for another run. Gwyneth seemed fascinated by the idea of a sequel but expressed her displeasure with original piece being dragged on for one too many seasons beyond their expiry dates. She said, “Oh wow, what an amazing idea! But no. No no no! Too many sequels already, aren’t there? Too many ideas staggering on past their sell by date.”
This might be the only confirmation we ever get regarding the discontinuing of Vanity Fair. But it is also probably all we need to know that there won’t be a Vanity Fair season 2.
Vanity Fair Trailer
Vanity Fair is available both on ITV and Prime Video. Here is a trailer for you to get a head start into the show:
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